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l-Theanine

L-theanine has a significant effect on the release or reduction of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, resulting in improved memory and learning ability. L-theanine may also influence emotions due to its effects on the increased release of dopamine. L-theanine reduces brain serotonin concentration by either curtailing serotonin synthesis or increasing degradation in the brain. Juneja LR, Chu D-C, Okubo T, et al. L-theanine a unique amino acid of green tea and its relaxation effect in humans. Trends Food Sci Tech 1999; 10:199-204.

In a study done in 1999 at the University of Shizuoka in Japan, several other unique properties of L-theanine were found. The research demonstrated that in addition to facilitating relaxation, L-theanine may benefit learning performance, mental clarity, concentration, and immunity.

Theanine administration caused significant increases in serotonin and/or dopamine concentrations in the brain, especially in striatum, hypothalamus and hippocampus. School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Shizuoka, Yada, Shizuoka, Japan.

Research on human volunteers has demonstrated that L-theanine creates a sense of relaxation in approximately 30-40 minutes after ingestion via at least two different mechanisms. First, this amino acid directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what is achieved through meditation. Second, L-theanine is involved in the formation of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA influences the levels of two other neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, producing the key relaxation effect.Mason R. 200 mg of Zen; L-theanine boosts alpha waves, promotes alert relaxation. Alternative & Complementary Therapies 2001,April; 7:91-95

L-theanine is an amino acid that research has proven to induce relaxation without causing drowsiness.Found predominantly in tea plants, L-theanine contributes to the unique flavor and umami taste of green tea. Studies show that when consumed, L-theanine directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves. These brain waves are associated with an awake, yet relaxed, state in humans. L-theanine also plays a role in the formation of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). This inhibitory neurotransmitter is key for relaxation and works by inhibiting the release of dopamine and serotonin. In addition to relaxation, L-theanine exhibits the potential to lower blood pressure and to improve learning ability and memory. Research by Taiyo International / Nutrasolutions

A review study on L-theanine in Trends in Food Science and Technology in 1999 confirmed how L-theanine works. The study reported that the brain absorbs L-theanine within 30 minutes and that higher doses increase alpha wave production and relaxation.

In a placebo-controlled study in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry in 1998, researchers found that rats who ate L-theanine produced 26 percent more tryptophan than rats who ate the placebo. The animals who ate L-theanine also exhibited less anxious behavior than those who didn't.

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